Some brief considerations about

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Jeremy Thomas 13/11 às 15:01 -- Building a proven IR spotting system.

Building a proven IR spotting system.
I will be describing with all details needed a way to build an infrared spotting system identical to the one that I am using, this configuration is the result of multiple tries and errors, lot of time invested and money learning it. I recommend that you follow this procedure and later improve on top of it, when you improve it just "pay it forward" and share your findings.
These are the two critical components needed:

1-LG lcb5100 security camera, buy it new, its regular price is around $174 on Ebay, but sometimes these cameras are sold by less than this price. This is an outstanding camera for IR spotting, I had tested many security cameras but no other come close to this one.

2- Computar motorized lens v10z1618m, these you can get used, usually they are around $100 but if you hunt them you can get it for a lot less.

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Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. still waiting for lens to arrive, but will buy the cable in the meantime.
Rob Freeman Jeremy .. still watching for that camera ... this one keeps coming up, but it's different by one letter (& much more expensive) .. it's a LNB5100 vs the LCB5100 you are suggesting .. will it work?

Rob Freeman This one is a little cheaper, Jeremy, but it's a slightly different model also:
Jeremy Thomas The LNB3(5)100 is a network(IP) camera, they may work but the installation will be different and I had not tested them.
Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. plan A is to build the system exactly as you say, like yours .. plan B is with another camera, but only if I can't locate the original camera over the next couple of weeks .. will keep watching on eBay, Amazon, etc. Patrick.

Jeremy Thomas That sound like a good plan, the lcb5100 has something that I had not found in any other camera: a physical adjustment for its sensor, that is critical to be able to get a range of zoom into focus, when scanning focus should not be touched on the spotter, I adjust focus just once on installation and I never, ever, touch the focus setting on the spotter.

Jeremy Thomas Off course even in this version, Rob Freeman, always you can place your camera of choice, p900 for example, on the same ptz base as the IR spotter, aligned, and you will be able to get some close-ups captures of some anomalies, many anomalies spotted using this system will be hard to "resolve" using the level of magnification provided by the superzoom cameras, but definitely it will be orders of magnitude better than naked eye spotting or binoculars spotting.

Jeremy Thomas The p900 have wifi control so it can be controlled remotely while it is on top of the ptz base.
Rob Freeman I like that idea Jeremy .. some more parts came in today!

Jeremy Thomas As a matter of fact, Rob Freeman you can replace your binoculars in your current setup by version 0.5 explained above with a small video viewfinder and that will work too. A ptz base is essentially a "motorized tripod".
Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. this is going to make the anomaly spotting & filming so much easier ... and consistent.
Jeremy Thomas And for version 0.5, Rob Freeman, the LG LCB5100 is not so critical, a samsung scb2000 can be used instead, the scb2000 is very well known to nighttime observers, as I was, I had tested it, still have one, but it is not as good as the LG, it can be found on Ebay now too:

Jeremy Thomas This post that I made at ufonv give some instructions how to "convert" the scb-2000 for IR spotting, Rob FreemanPatrick Ryan.

Jeremy Thomas There are already a few "personal" viewfinders, similar to google glass, that accept composite video input, for daylight spotting two aspects in these viewfinders are critical: eye covering to avoid daylight glaring and "resolution", a poor resolution viewfinder/monitor will miss many small dim objects in the screen, since the spotter camera gives standard video resolution, SD, a 640x480 resolution is the maximal resolution provided by the spotter camera, so any monitor or viewfinder with at least that resolution will be ok, less than that is not recommended.

Jeremy Thomas So for version 0.5, Rob FreemanPatrick Ryan, you can build a custom flat base that can be placed in your tripod of choice, and then on top of this flat base you can place side by side, aligned, your camera of choice and the spotter camera, that way you will have a "manual" dual system similar to one that I had described in the following video:

Jeremy Thomas Later you can "play" with your camera of choice and "test" different configurations, increasing progressively the optical magnification used, after a point manual handling of a very high optical magnification setup will be impractical and the motorized based will be needed.
Rob Freeman Thanks for all this, Jeremy .. I've gone ahead & ordered the SCB-2000 to get me started & learn about everything .. will continue to watch for the other camera to eventually build an even better system. Patrick.
Jeremy Thomas Then when you got your motorized base, almost the same "process" followed in the "manual" dual system can be followed, by increasing progressively the optical magnification used, once you reach a 150x optical magnification range you will be pushing the envelop at that point.

Jeremy Thomas This path actually is a better learning experience that can be followed small steps by small steps and have a higher "expectation" of success because it builds from simple to more complex.
Jeremy Thomas Rob FreemanPatrick Ryan this is a footage showing the IR cutoff filter removed from a scb-2000.

Jeremy Thomas Be aware that if using the manual lens mentioned above: vivitar 75mm-205mm on the spotter camera that have a 1/3(6mm) sensor size will provide a maximal optical magnification of 205/6 = 34x, that magnification is around the same level as the p900, that implies that many objects spotted in IR will be "invisible" to the "normal" camera, but not because the object is "cloaked" but just because it is small and/or far away and these objects are masked by the sky scattering of visible light. To see these objects in "normal" visible light the "resolver" part needs to have several times the optical magnification of the spotter part, usual 5 times or more.

Rob Freeman JeremyAlanPatrickFrannyJason .. I think I have almost everything now to assemble the IR dual scope system of Jeremy's. Just a couple of things to pickup locally. Am excited that I'll be able to spot & see this stuff remotely, indoors, even during the cold winter months here in London, ON, Canada. Jeremy other than a voltmeter & soldering equipment, do you see anything missed? If so, I can quickly get it ordered from eBay or Amazon. (thanks)
GostoResponder316/2 às 1:21
Patrick Ryan I'm delaying my build for now. But thank you Rob.
GostoResponder116/2 às 2:08
Jeremy Thomas You got then one scb 2000 camera?
GostoResponder116/2 às 4:27
Rob Freeman Yes, got one scb 2000 .. should I order a 2nd?
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Jeremy Thomas That include also, Rob Freeman, a 25mm 950nm IR filter? That can be used for now but it will be good for the scb 2000 to have a 25mm 850nm IR filter, the scb2000 is not as sensitive as the recommended LG cam, with the 950nm filter the image will be too dark in the scb2000. 

Many details will be learned during the fine tuning process.

GostoResponder116/2 às 4:34
Jeremy Thomas Having a monitor/tv with composite video(rca) input is always very useful, a portable small one is needed for outside calibrations.
GostoResponder116/2 às 4:49
Franny Hudson Haha great going Rob you kept that quiet! I thought you had slowed down with buying the equipment, exciting times. I can't wait for you to have the setup you should document your process on camcorder for the documentary, and for us less advanced individuals with complicated equipment.
GostoResponder116/2 às 6:17

Rob Freeman Thanks Franny .. will document putting it together .. I'm hoping Jeremy will be able to give me very simple steps one at a time to assemble these things, slowly .. seeing all this technical equipment on the floor looks intimidating to me, but if I go slow, I will gradually get it down. (a big thanks in advance to Jeremy!)
Franny Hudson Very true Rob Freeman, when you posted the picture I thought that looks very difficult, and sometimes personally words don't help me! I need to see it physically on videos too even attempt something like this. But we have Jeremy Thomas am sure it will get frustrating for both of use, but fully worth while! When he's starting too talk you through the set up. We should create some type of forum for others to follow.

Franny Hudson Great going Jeremy one step ahead lol if needed can you add more information on here?
Jeremy Thomas Franny Hudson of course, we can make a mirror of whatever is posted here/there, very likely this group interactions will be the trigger to create more posts over there and not the other way around.

Jeremy Thomas The 850nm IR pass filter is the right filter to use for a scb2000 camera Rob Freeman. Any details or questions on how to proceed we should do it over here or in a public forum, other people may have similar questions and they may learn from that.
Jeremy Thomas The first step then Rob Freeman is to "convert" the scb2000, meaning opening it and taking away its IR cutoff filter. Searching in YT for "scb2000 cutoff filter" will find videos explaining how to remove it, in this camera is not difficult, this is one of the videos. You can watch a few of them to get a better idea.

Jeremy Thomas But before opening the camera Rob Freeman it will be good to power it and test its video output, no need of any lens in this step but if you got the manual lens that I see in the picture with a c-mount adapter you can test it with these lens. You will need 12 volts dc power suppy and the composite video cable, a monitor or tv with rca video input can be used, no need of any pc at this point.

Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. will pickup a power supply & the tiny tools needed to later open the camera.
Rob Freeman Jeremy .. today, I picked up the 12 volt DC power supply, soldering iron, voltmeter and tiny screwdrivers. However, in my city here, none of the computer / electronics stores have a BNC to composite cable .. I will look for one on eBay / Amazon.
GostoResponder118/2 às 22:53Editado
Rob Freeman These 2 photos show the connections available on the SCB 2000 camera.
Jeremy Thomas The side connector is for a lens with automatic iris, that is not going to be used with the lens that you have.
Jeremy Thomas Rob Freeman if you ordered the cables that I mentioned above you already have the bnc to rca adapters:

GostoResponder119/2 às 1:01
Rob Freeman Thanks for pointing that out Jeremy, you are right, there are adapters included, so I can proceed to test the camera tomorrow, now.
GostoResponder119/2 às 4:03Editado
Rob Freeman Jeremy .. I have the SCB 2000 connected to the 12 Volt DC adapter & output cable to a TV. I attached a lens & can see the live video on the TV, so will proceed to the next step now.
GostoResponder220/2 às 3:31
Jeremy Thomas Rob Freeman had you done the "conversion"?
Rob Freeman Yes, conversion is complete, Jeremy. I have taken the original turquoise IR filter & black plastic frame out of the SCB 2000 & put the 850nm IR 25mm filter in place of the black plastic frame & tightened the circuit board in. The filter fits perfectly inside the camera. Tomorrow I'll connect the control box to the Computer lens. I've attached the Samsung SCB 2000 to the Computar motorized lens.
GostoResponder122/2 às 4:35Editado
Jeremy Thomas Rob Freeman I recommend to "play" a little bit with the converted scb2000 camera and the manual lens that you already have first, in that way you get a feeling of how the camera will behave when used with the motorized lens. Also that will allow you to play with the camera settings using its onscreen menus.
GostoResponder223/2 às 0:39Editado
Jeremy Thomas That camera with the manual lens is already a spotter setup, you can try to focus into clouds borders and explore a little bit around clouds.
GostoResponder223/2 às 0:41
Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. will now test what I can see up in the sky.
Jeremy Thomas Rob Freeman if you have the resources you can have two of these spotter setups, one using the manual lens and attached to your setup with binoculars and a second one using the motorized lens, that will be really cool. As a matter of fact the compact camera-lens combination that I had mentioned before is better for using in your binoculars setup because it is smaller and more compact than even the scb2000 without lens. That way you will have a mobile dual system and one that you can keep fixed to a given location.

Jeremy Thomas And since the p900 also give composite video out, Rob Freeman, then using a video switch you can use the same monitor for spotting and closeups. Experience also shows that using a monitor with a black enclosure outside is orders of magnitude better than using any small viewfinder, with the added benefit of better movility on the tripod since your eyes does not have to be glued to that viewfinder.

Rob Freeman Thanks Jeremy .. sounds good .. unfortunately, with the P900, you can't view live on a wired monitor, you can only view photos & videos on a monitor after taking them, once you press "play". That's one of the things I don't like about the camera. You can use the iPhone app to view what is in your screen remotely, via built in wifi and take photos remotely, but you can't take videos that way .. strange but true 
Emoji frown

Jeremy Thomas Well Rob Freeman since outside you will be close to the camera you will be able to access the record option manually, and if the camera is aligned with the ir spotter you may not need to even look at the viewfinder, assuming that focus is ok.
Jeremy Thomas Rob Freeman I may be mistaken but even older nikon cameras have composite video out via a special cable from the usb connector. Check this dslr remote control software that I think offers support for the p600 and p900.

GostoResponder123/2 às 20:59Editado
Jeremy Thomas No, it appears that I am mistaken digicamcontrol do not support the p600 or p900.
Rob Freeman Thanks for checking this out Jeremy 
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